6 Cute and Wild Critters We Wish We Could Have as Pets - Dangerously Genocidal

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Tuesday, 6 June 2017

6 Cute and Wild Critters We Wish We Could Have as Pets

Nature is filled with cute and cuddly creatures of all shapes and sizes. Some of them are so adorable that it can be hard to remember that those cute critters are actually wild animals, and many people do go so far as to keep them for pets. But there are some hard truths to face when keeping a wild animal as a house-pet. Honestly, though, unless you really know what you’re doing, here are:

6 Cute and Wild Critters We Wish We Could Have as Pets



1. Red Panda

The Appeal: There’s no denying that the little Red Panda is absolutely adorable. They seem to be very playful and sweet, not to mention all fuzzy and cuddly. They’re not generally considered to be dangerous and add in that they are an endangered species… well, who wouldn’t want to save a little Panda or two, and get the added bonus of snuggling with it as it curls up on their laps?

The Reality: Unfortunately, there are a lot of things to take into account with Red Pandas. First off, they’re arboreal – in other words, they like to climb trees. A lot. They need a large outdoor enclose, with an indoor shelter, and regulated temperatures. You’ve also got to be ready to deal with the rather strong scent of their territorial markings – they use their anal glands for that. They need to be cleaned often, are mostly active at night, and eat a lot of fresh bamboo every day. And then there are the health risks – Red Pandas are prone to canine distemper, a fatal disease, and frequently need to be checked for parasites and dental disease.

In Conclusion: They might look like adorable little crosses between raccoons and teddy-bears, but the Red Panda is not an animal to be kept as a pet, unless you have extensive experience and the money to spare.


2. Arctic Fox

The Appeal: As one of the most mellow species of fox – and definitely one of the fuzziest and most adorable – arctic foxes almost look like the perfect little not-dog cuddle buddies. They have the most adorable little laughs, interesting quirks, and they are highly intelligent to boot. Some pet foxes even have their own favourite cuddle toys, and properly socialized pet foxes can interact really well with people and even other pets (large pets, that is. Your hamster, however, will be a nice snack). The fact that they can learn to use litter boxes is a definite bonus.

The Reality: First thing you need to take into consideration is temperature. They need cold weather; if you live in a hot climate, this is one pet you shouldn’t have. They also have quite a distinctive scent, marking their territory with urine and feces, and require early socialization training. They’re also very curious (and very sly) creatures, making them prone to escape attempts just because something interesting caught their attention. Also, when training a fox, positive reinforcement is the way to go – spanking will not help you here. Although they can survive on puppy food, they also need a supplemented diet of vegetables, eggs and meat – but no pork! And remember, other small pets are food, not friends. And they are diggers, so if you’re a gardener… kiss your petunias goodbye.

In Conclusion: Although foxes can be kept as pets, you have to keep in mind that they need a lot of training, attention and special care. Vets are also, more than likely, going to charge you an arm and a leg to treat your fox – and you have to have them vaccinated. You also need to be extremely patient. Unless you’re ready to bond with your new fox partner for life, just don’t go there.


3. Striped Hyena

The Appeal: Striped Hyenas can actually make great pets – with certain things taken into account - if they’d been tamed from birth. They’re highly intelligent but, unfortunately, they are also endangered. In many ways, their behaviour is like that of dogs – but instead of barking, they laugh at you. And, believe it or not, they are actually really adorable and lovable animals that can steal your heart with a big, toothy smile.

The Reality: If you want to keep a Striped Hyena as a pet, there are a few things you’re going to have to be prepared for – over and above their unique sounds. These hyenas communicate a lot via their scent, and mark their territory with their anal pouches. They also need a good sized territory – these animals are not meant to be house pets alone. They also have a distinctive diet – not only do they tend to be carrion eaters, but they also need eggs, insects, fish, fruits and vegetables. They also tend to regurgitate pellets, much like owls do. And make no mistake, they might be ‘tamed’, but striped hyenas have quite the bite on them – they’re perfectly capable of killing an animal with one snap.

In Conclusion: If you don’t mind the scent, if you have a large enough property, and if you have the patience and the time to raise them from early on, then a Striped Hyena would be a great pet for you – just make sure you don’t have any smaller pets or kids around that might end up a perfectly natural snack.


4. Meerkat

The Appeal: No matter who you are, you can probably name one movie or commercial that’s shown off just how adorable Meerkats can be. They are playful, love to snuggle, and are undeniably cute when they clamber all over their beloved owners. They’re quite intelligent, too, and very fluffy – which is great, since they also love to be scratched, tickled and groomed. The idea of Meerkats as pets has also grown significantly in the past ten years.

The Reality: Most people who buy a meerkat for a pet only get one – which is just about the worst thing you could do to a meerkat. They are incredibly social – in the wild they live in massive family groups – and a lone meerkat will turn to self–mutilation and can even become suicidal. They also need a special enclosure with both an outdoor and indoor area.

They’re also extremely care intensive. You can’t keep Meerkats if you have a day job – they need constant socialization and stimulation, being highly energetic. You should also be able to afford to cater to their dietary needs of fruits, vegetables and meat, and you better not mind mischievous little creatures trying to dig through your pillows, cushions, carpets and floors. They also have extremely sharp teeth and claws that can chomp right down to the bone – in other words, be prepared to get a few nips, and don’t let your kids play with them unsupervised.

In Conclusion: Meerkats can make great, loving and loyal pets. But, unless you have the dedicated time that they need and the money to cater to their living, feeding and social requirements – and have very thick skin / cheap furniture – don’t get a Meerkat.


5. Black-footed Cat

The Appeal: These cats are the smallest wild cats in Africa, coming in at a whopping… 2kg’s (4.5lbs). They are, without a doubt, one of the cutest little felines; not just because of their size, but also due to their almost unnaturally big, cute eyes. It’s also quite fluffy and looks to be the perfect snuggling companion. Basically, it’s every cat lover’s weakness. It also has to be said that they are amazing little creatures that are, very sadly, endangered.

The Reality: Although some people have managed to keep black-footed cats as pets, they’ve generally been hand reared since birth – and for good reason. Despite their overpowering level of cuteness, these cats are not for the faint of heart. They come from a very arid region, and tend to get most of their water from their food, requiring very little drinking water in normal circumstances. High humidity, or cold temperatures, are a death sentence.

They’re also nocturnal, and like to spend their days hidden away under rock ledges or in empty termite mounds – which is why they’re locally referred to as ‘Miershoop Tier’ or ‘Anthill Tigers’, and the tiger part is not an exaggeration. These cats are still hunters, and they don’t realize that they’re not part of the big cats. Aside from their normal food of insects, spiders, birds and rodents, they’ve been known to hunt sheep and have even gone after giant giraffes. You have to keep in mind that these cats are extremely energetic, and eat significant amounts to keep up with their metabolism. What they can’t eat, they hide. Oh, and just a little head’s up… these cats are loud. Really, really loud.

In Conclusion: Unless you have the right environment suited to these cats, a lot of patience, insane amounts of energy, and enough money to keep up with their eating habits (and hunting of your furniture, pets, neighbour’s dog or neighbour) – and a lot of experience dealing with wild cats – this is one adorable kitty you should pass on.


6. Hedgehog

The Appeal: From the critters on this list, hedgehogs are probably the ones who are most often actually kept as pets – and who can blame their owners? They look deceptively fluffy, and they have the most adorable little faces. There’s also a lot of information available on keeping them as pets. They’re also known to bond closely with their owners, making them a loyal and cute little friend.

The Reality: They may look fluffy, but you’ve got to understand that those are still prickly spines that cover their backs. They don’t shoot them like porcupines (and hedgehogs are not rodents), but that doesn’t mean that they are any less sharp, especially when they’re curled up in little balls – and apparently, they’re not all that easy to unfurl either. They also groom their spines with spit, which might be a little ‘gross’ for some.

You also have to socialize your hedgehog and keep him active – they love to eat, and can suffer from obesity. They’re also nocturnal little critters. Hedgehogs are not silent, either. They snuff, grunt, squeal, whistle and even purr. They also scream, mainly when in pain. Most importantly, Hedgehogs can carry diseases which are contagious to people – including salmonella, ringworm spores, etc. They need to be kept clean, and owners need to be very hygienic.

In Conclusion: You need to give your hedgehog a lot of time and care. You need to be prepared to deal with the hygienic requirements and to spend time socializing your hedgehog. And you definitely have to be prepared to get pricked a few times. But if you’ve got what it takes, hedgehogs can make really rewarding pets.




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